A porn actress and a dominatrix on destroyed businesses and censorship

The Audio Visual Media Services regulations (AVMS)banned sex acts that were deemed morally damaging or life threatening, including strangulation, face sitting and fisting.

But after the frenzy died down and the crops and bondage were returned to bedrooms and BDSM dungeons, performers and production firms were left to deal with the effects of the regulations which they feared would destroy their businesses and threaten online freedom.

Campaigners slammed the rules as subjective, and said they unfairly targeted women by banning female ejaculation and face sitting.

At the time, Myles Jackman, a UK based obscenity lawyer,pandora jewelry www.jewelleryv87n5.top warned that the ban would pose an unnecessary trade barrier to beleaguered UK pornography producers.

It is now clear their fears were founded.

Pandora Blake, 31, who describes herself as a “one woman business” and a London basedfeminist pornographer who stars in, writes, and directs films, said that she had to close her online business Dreams of Spanking as a direct result of the law.

Her films depicted BDSM fetishes between consenting adults but which are banendby the regulations often leavingthe recipient with red welts, stripes or bruises that can take “a few days to heal” after a shoot.

Describing the rules as “very vague” she said: “My fetish is spanking, and I like to give and receive it with consenting partners.

“My aim with Dreams of Spanking is to authentically depict my own genuine fantasies and desires, and accurately reflect the sort of play I enjoy in private.”

But the regulations “made it impossible” for her to run her site, and she was ordered to take it offline in the summer.

“The enforcement was far swifter, and more heavy handedthan I expected,” she said, claimingthat Atvod may have unfairly targeted her because she appeared on BBC 2’s Newsnight and BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour to argue that the laws were “needlessly oppressive and sexist”.

“Many of my fellow pornographers who distribute similar work depicting spanking that leaves lasting marks have not yet been contacted, so it’s hard not to see it as political censorship,” she claimed.

And as the regulations only apply to content produced in the UK, she suspects that customers with “tastes that are not mainstream enough to fit with the draconian limits of the new regulations”have simply taken their business to overseas websites and producers, as Mr Jackman predicted.

“Many UK websites have had to sell their businesses overseas, and others have closed down. Those remaining are forced to severely limit the sort of content they are able to publish,” she said.

But it is not merely a financial issue for Ms Blake.

When her site was shut, five years of creativity, hard work,personal investment of time, money and energy were “destroyed in a single blow”, she said.

“It has been a devastating year for me both personally and professionally. I have lost money, my mental health has suffered, my creative output has been stifled.”

She argues that the laws are a “clear effort” by the “heteronormative patriarchal establishment” to prohibit acts depicting female dominance, female sexual agency, as well as male submission and penetration.

“These regulations ultimately derive from the Obscene Publications Act, a 56 year old law which dates from a time when it was illegal to depict sexual intercourse on film at all, and it was illegal to even have gay sex, never mind film it. To use this law as a basis for present day regulation of online media is simply ludicrous.”

“These laws are definitely intended as a means of surveillance and control. The AVMS regulations are the thin end of the wedge, using pornography as an excuse to regulate and censor the internet.”

“The laws are not fit for purpose and should definitely be scrapped.”

Peter Johnson, the CEO of Atvod, said that the organisation has published”clear guidance” on how to comply with the rules.

He added that most services are investigated after complaints or “if a service comes to our attention through other means for example through press reports. We do not pro actively target websites offering particular types of pornography.”

“The starting point of an investigation into a service is always to write to the service provider to make them aware of the relevant regulations and the obligations they place on providers of on demand programme services.

“We only proceed to take formal steps if a service provider fails to respond appropriately to this initial contact. A regulator cannot ignore complaints or flagrant breaches of the statutory rules it is charged with enforcing.”

But Megara Furie, a 32 year olddominatrix based in Glasgow, holds similar views to Ms Blake. Highlightingthat she is happy to censor pornography if it protects children from inappropriate content she views the regulations as unrealistic.